* Posts by Alister

3263 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Revealed: Inside super-soaraway Pinterest's virtual data centre

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Re: what on earth...

Thanks for the replies, never heard the term before.

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what on earth...

...is a sharded database?

Basic instinct: how we used to code

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old memories

Having learned basic on a TRS80 I then went on to use Borland Turbo-Basic on a 286 running DOS 5. It felt like proper programming, as it would compile to an exe or a com and would accept assembler inline as well. Great for writing TSRs

Star Trek role-players' privates sniffed by alien invader

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>>The studio said it had reset passwords and sent emails out to all affected online role-players.<<

For a data breach that happened 2 years ago! I think they might as well not have bothered, any compromises will have taken place ages ago.

Talk about closing the stable door... the horse has bolted, found a new owner, and sired three foals by now...

Educating Rory: Are BBC reporters unteachable?

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Educating Rory: Are BBC Reporters Unteachable?

Umm, Yes?

Like all journalists, once he's worked out his "angle", he's not going to go back on that or change it. And, like most journalists, he knows bugger all about the subject he is pontificating about.

Apple sued for every touchscreen device by Flatworld prof

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Re: Prior art

FatsBrannigan wrote:

>>Well, some of the patents that he cites contain prior art relating to gestural control. I think he's going to have a hard time claiming credit for inventing it when his own patent citations weaken the case.<<

But he's not claiming he invented it, he is merely saying that Apple's implementation of touch gestures infringe on the patent he was granted.

Gore, Bush, and Berners-Lee rock into 'net Hall of Fame

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Re: But it _is_ the "Internet Hall of Fame"

Yes, the Internet, not the World Wide Web. Don't mistake the one for the other. So for the Internet yes, definitely Hayes et al should get a mention, the advent of comparatively cheap, accessible commercially available modems made the difference in terms of consumers ability to access to the networks, which was the real start of the internet.

Getting rich off iPhone apps is b*llocks, say UK devs

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Investment capital

I rather think the main point being made here, is don't expect internet services to be a get-rich-quick scheme on which to base the country's economy. It seems that someone in the present government, or civil service, has Had A Thought, and decided we can become great again by writing lots of Apps.

Unfortunately, Britain / UK has always been famously bad at providing long-term investment capital for new ideas, hence the loss of so many engineering and other skills. I think it's true to say we could have been world leaders in a number of manufacturing or engineering niches, not least of which being computer hardware and software, had real venture capital been available.

Trojan sneaks into hotel, slurps guests' credit card data

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I find it amusing, but also appropriate

...that the acronyms for Point-Of-Sale and Piece-Of-Shit should be identical.

Renault Twizy budget e-car

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Re: What is it about the brief, "Design an Electric Vehicle" that cripples all aesthetic sense?

I think that, in order to make it "sleeker" one would have to make it longer and wider - and therefore heavier - and so would lose it's nippiness, manoeuvrability and comparatively low price tag, as well as it's "almost-a-moped-but-better" credentials. That said, I have to agree, it's not pretty.

Scientists plan 3D printable robots for the home

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They look like Stargate Replicators to me

Analogue switch-off hits London today

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Re: Farewell, snow-filled pictures

Speaking to a work colleague this morning who is in the capital, it's apparently a lovely warm sunny day. Meanwhile, here in the Peak District every window is a snow-filled picture, and more falling every minute...

Condom compartment hidden in iPhone case

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We should only encourage...

...any efforts made to stop iPhone owners from breeding unchecked.

Steve Jobs biopic

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Re: Kutcher

Wozniak? Ricky Tomlinson.


Coders' 'lives sucked out' by black-and-white Visual Studio 11

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Re: real coders use notepad

Nope, you're all wrong, real coders use front panel switches

RIM retracts denial on consumer devices: Pulls out, spins in circle

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Re: What??


cock - male bird specifically chicken (see rooster)

capon - a castrated rooster

wattle - a fleshy growth under the chin of a male chicken

comb - the fleshy appendage on a male chicken's head

spurred - the rearward toe of a chicken's foot is often called a spur

coop - a place where chickens are kept


Use the holy word of God to stay secure online, says bishop

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Look, I'd had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was: "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!

Brazilian cops hunt pillaging 'gang of blondes'

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Re: why not have a second "under duress" pin code

because you just know that the average punter (who has enough trouble remembering One pin, let alone two) will at some point type in the wrong one, or, more likely, will not remember the alternative pin at the crucial time due to brown-trouser issues.

Senators chime in on employers’ Facebook snooping

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Re: Mini-poll


If I had a FB account I can't see any reason why any employer should expect be granted access to my login details, they would be welcome to view the public profile, but why should any employer require your personal login.

As mentioned elsewhere some high security employers may require a vetting process - access to your bank statements etc, but even then, they wouldn't ask for your online banking password, would they?

I cannot see why any employer anywhere would think they have any rights to any personal login credentials, to anything. Would you give your employer your google mail account details, or your ebay account details?

Microsoft takes down ZeuS botnets

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"The operations resulted in the dismantling of two IP addresses behind the ZeuS ‘command-and-control’ structure."

So... how do you dismantle an IP address?

Tear off each octet and hammer it into submission?

Or just forcibly remove the dots so it all falls apart...

London fire brigade outsources 999 control centre to Capita

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Even if they don't offshore it...

...do you really want emergency calls and dispatch decisions being handled by minimum-wage call centre drones like the rest of Capita uses?

Musk muses on middle-class Mars colony

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...or maybe BarsooM would be more accurate

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

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Re: The Matrix 2

FatsBrannigan wrote: "At least with the Matrix series, they only ripped off bits several dozen uncredited books, rather than gutting a single name and loved book."

And on that note, I would like to nominate "I Robot"

Euro antitrust watchdog sniffs telcos' back-door hot air

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Euro antitrust watchdog sniffs telcos' back-door hot air


Boffins unlock gorilla genome, find lazy sperm gene

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Re: Our three great apes . . .

Chimpanzees are of the genus "Pan" which is normally agreed to have two distinct species: Pan paniscus (the Bonobo) and Pan troglodytes (the common Chimpanzee).

Dogs, however are all considered to be a single species, Canis familiaris.

The distinction is due to the amount of differences between the DNA of the types, and also whether it is genetically possible for different types to interbreed - in the case of dogs, apart from sheer physical incompatability any breed of dog can produce viable offspring with any other breed of dog.

This is not believed to be possible between robust and gracile chimps.

Anonymous web weapon backfires with hidden banking Trojan

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Re: Sorry, no.

Hey El Reg, you need a new print cartridge, this web page hasn't printed properly...

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Who can they blame?

it was /Anonymous/ malware pedlars who swiped the template of a guide to launching denial-of-service attacks from Pastebin.

Asteroid could SMASH INTO EARTH in 2040

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The most important thing...

...is Bruce Willis still going to be alive by 2040?

If not we're doomed I tell ya, DOOMED!

Moore's Law leaves mobile networks ripe for attack

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final solution

"He advised countries to check the record of their local supplier, disable software updates, and consider leaving the phone at home altogether."

In fact, you could connect the phone by a wire to a central point, which then connects you to the world, thus avoiding using GSM altogether.

Wait, what do you mean, it's been done?

'Nobody can resist the charming of iPAD'

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way to go

...quoting completely out of context.

The paragraph you quoted was from the Chinese/English blurb accompanying Proview's Internet Personal Access Device, which was

a/ not a tablet, and

b/ was released in 1998 way before any Apple product of tablet form.



Hitachi GST waggles nippy 2.5-incher at Ultrabooks

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Re: Single platter

This is a genuine question:- can there be such a thing as aerodynamic drag in a vacuum?

I agree with your point though, but I would suggest that inertia and bearing friction are the governing factors.

Woman spanked for dissing ex in Facebook snapshot

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Translation

@Richard 120

Thanks, that fixed it - didn't know you could do that.

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Re: Re: Translation


I downvoted this by accident when trying to click on the "Next" button...

I apologise.

Juniper buys Mykonos to beat off web app attacks

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Oh! I thought they'd bought a Greek island (at a knockdown price) to retire to...

Third of Blighty stuck on snail-speed broadband

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My thoughts on this are:

1/ it doesn't matter what the headline speed is, if there is massive contention or traffic shaping on your broadband. If I run speedtests from my house, I get between 5 and 6 Mb/s on a regular basis, and the reported synch speed is 6.2Mb/s. However, on most evenings, I am unable to stream a program on BBC iPlayer, even on the lowest bandwidth setting.

The government should be shouting about improving backend infrastructure, not offering some meaningless figure plucked from the air as a minimum "speed".

2/ Where I live, we are STILL on a non-LLU exchange, so we have no option but to go with BT. Despite all the pretty leaflets I get through the door from Virgin, I can't take advantage of them - or any other provider. The first goal of the government policy should be to get every exchange unbundled, so at least people can choose a provider. Surely increased competition will drive provision of services.

Privacy warriors sue FTC over Google's policy tweak

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The EU's Article Working 29 Group

shurely shome mishtake?

Spacemen urge NASA to build nuke ship for Mars trip

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Far from being "worthless" Mars is the only really viable place for Mankind to colonise, as it is (in astronomical terms) just next door, and has the potential to be terraformed using current or near future technology, to the point where living on the surface could be possible within a few generations. Contrast with the Moon where any colony would always be confined to artificial structures, and at the mercy of the low gravity (which has deleterious effects on human bodies).

It's all very well the boffins going "ooh look at star such-and-such, it's got goldilocks planets which can support life!" the reality is we are not sufficiently advanced to even consider travelling to any of these.

You say "I think we should concentrate on Mankind on this planet."

Yes, but we are in the classic "all the eggs in one basket" situation at the moment, where firstly, any extinction level event (whether from orbital impact or through our own foolishness) would wipe us all out, and secondly, we are running out of room and resources.

We either need to drastically limit the population growth in some way, or find another planet to move to. Doing this now, before it's too late, would seem sensible. But as you and the previous poster have said "Mankind's short sightedness may well be its downfall".

Boffins make graphene micro-distillery

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Sea water Mineral extraction

If they can make this large scale it could lead to commercially viable mineral extraction from sea water...

Australia, US agree to space junk talks

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"As we begin this work, the United States has made clear to our partners that we will not enter into a code of conduct that in any way constrains our national security-related activities in space or our ability to protect the United States and our allies,"

They're a bit like a garage hoarder: "no, that's not space junk, you never know when it might come in useful for our national security, someday"

X Prize: Build a Star Trek 'tricorder' and win $10m

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Not so easy

To be fair, there are already plenty of small Automated External Defibrillator, Pulse Oximetry, Blood Glucose meters and Blood Pressure devices on the market, so to combine them into a single unit with a simple AI to recognise common conditions would not be too big a problem. However, to be true to the Star Trek idea, you would have to make all of those work non-invasively (ie without removing clothing or attaching things to the body) which is probably a challenge too far.

Churlish HSBC drops atomic-scale accuracy

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The standard unit of length shall be the EU standard (Florentine) linguine (unboiled at sea level), defined as 1lg, representing 14cm, 0.02784 perches, 0.462 Japanese shyaku or 0.0007568 Ancient Greek stadium ptolemys

A femtolinguine, is therefore, 1 x 10−15th or or 0.000000000000001 of a linguine, or to put it another way, bloody small!

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Given your apparent love of precision in small scales, are you a Hornby train-spotter?

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Judging by the input over Powerpoint up-thread, you need to rethink that strategy...

Perhaps you could put a "no-track" prefix on your office address?

Arctic freshening not due to ice melt after all, says NASA

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@AC 00:22

"If someone thinks that something, which is generally regarded to be happening (by science), isn't in fact happening, despite massive evidence to say that it is, it's not unreasonable to call them a denier."

This is the typical strawman used by CAGW supporters. The vast majority of those who oppose the CAGW position do not deny that there are changes in global climate (for which there is, yes, a large amount of evidence), they deny, or do not accept, that there is sufficient evidence that the climate change is as a resut of mankind's activities.

Well, burn my atomic-clock-powered new human renaissance platform

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May I take this opportunity to say...

PLEASE El Reg, lose the bloody annoying Microsoft Cloud banner add which keeps changing size, and causes the whole page content to jump about like a startled gazelle.

Yes, I know ads are needed to make you money, but FFS get ones that aren't written by a bunch of half-trained monkeys.



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Does LRO also map magnetic anomolies... say, in the Tycho area??

Navy pays 2x purchase price to keep warship docked for 5 years

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You'd have to cut off the masts and rigging, and probably the poop as well, and you would still have a more capable ship than the new carriers...

Carrier IQ VP: App on millions of phones not a privacy risk

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Like tiny fish through a net, key taps dropped from memory

Is that a haiku?

UK lays carbon plan before Earth Goddess

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curious why our electricity is 15% more expensive than Germany

Chief reason is we don't have the land area, compared to our population density, we just don't have the room to put sufficient power generation in place. As it is, we buy in a proportion of our electricity from France.

The larger European countries are able to have many Hydro-electric plants operating, and have done for a long time, so it's mature technology and the capital expenditure was paid off years ago.

We don't have the room to have that sort of infrastructure, even if we wanted to.

Boffin's bot spots red light jumpers before they kill

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Never mind warning other drivers...

Just make it so it stops the car and preferably ejects the idiot.

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